Garlicky Greens Recipe

If you love sauteed greens, give this recipe a go. I avoid overcooking, and throw plenty of garlic into the pan. You can use kale, chard, or spinach.

Garlicky Greens

Do you remember Nikki's sweet potato recipe from a couple weeks back? She recommended serving her sweet potatoes alongside lots of lots of garlicky, sauteed greens. I realized at the moment I went to publish her recipe that I've never posted a simple, tasty, everyday sauteed greens recipe here. I'm not exactly sure how this omission happened, but it did. So here it is, a quick, extra-garlicky kale, chard, or spinach recipe - your choice. Personally, I like my greens cooked for just a couple minutes (if that), so they retain a hint of structure, and plenty of color and vibrancy.

Garlicky Greens Recipe

I use greens quick-cooked like this in dozens of ways. Stir a few beaten eggs into a skillet of sauteed kale, and you're on your way to a delicious omelette or frittata. I sometimes chop the leaves a bit finer (pre or post saute), and add them to all sorts of soups and curries - you get color, flavor, and a nutritious boost. Puree the sauteed greens and you can whisk or blend them into yogurt, hummus, mashed potatoes, and dips. Any ideas from your end?

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Garlicky Greens Recipe

If you are using spinach ignore the stem instructions below. With spinach I simply trim any long stems. Also, feel free to make this vegan and/or dairy-free by leaving out the Parmesan cheese. Toasted almonds or pine nuts are a great substitution (or addition).

1 large bunch of kale, chard
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
fine grain sea salt
5 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (opt)
crushed red pepper flakes

To de-stem each leaf of chard/kale, grab the main stalk in one hand and strip the leaf from the stem all the way up with the other. I then tear the big leaves into bite-sized pieces, but you can use a knife for this task if you prefer. Wash the greens in a big bowl (or sink) full of clean water, rinsing and swishing to rinse away any stubborn grit and dirt. Drain, rinse again, and set aside.

Hold off cooking the greens until just before eating. Then, in a large skillet heat the olive oil. Add a couple big pinches of salt and the greens. They should hiss and spit a bit when they hit the pan. Stir continuously until their color gets bright green, and they just barely start to collapse - two, three, maybe four minutes, depending on how hot your pan is and how much structure your greens have. Then, just thirty seconds before you anticipate pulling the skillet off of the heat, stir in the garlic. Saute a bit, remove the pan from the heat, stir in the Parmesan, and add a big pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Taste, add a bit of salt if needed, and serve immediately if not sooner.

Serves 2- 3.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Fabulous side dish recipe! Thanks for continuing to reinvent veggies with your tasty and healthy recipes. I loved your vibrant green beans - I made them for Thanksgiving!


Absolutely delicious side dish. I made it while waiting for the pizza to be delivered ;) Totally lessens the guilt factor. I had something very similar while in Italy, but it was topped with a poached egg - a quick and easy dinner.


Can't get enough greens, that's for sure! I always eat the stems though, just chop them into tiny pieces and mix in! There's good stuff in them stems :-)

Michelle @ What Does Your Body Good?

Gorgeous photos!


delicious recipe, your site is really amazing

Healthy Diet

Love garlicky greens. Use veg peeler to shave garlic t-h-i-n-l-y. Olive oil, warm the garlic, add the greens [tuscan kale is our fave]. then sprinkle sugar and balsamic for a nice agrodolce finish. So simple and so good.

jacqueline church

This looks fantastic! I cook kale in a very similar way, but before I start I marinade the about two cloves of garlic, about the same amount of ginger finely chopped and a large peeled tomato, diced, in the juice of half a lemon, before throwing them all in just before the end (actually, I usually throw in some small prawns with them but I know that won't go down here....!) Never occurred to me to use parmesan, or that much garlic, but I can hardly wait to try.... I think my liver will be crying out for some of this after Christmas.


This is exactly how I saute my kale and I also use the package mix from TJs: Sothern Blend of Greens from TJs (mix of collard, turnip and spinach). I saute exactly the way for 5 minutes on medium heat. After 5 minutes, I dump in the minced garlic along with some cherry tomato halves and saute for 1 minute more. Then transfer to a serving dish. I don't add the parmesan cheese though. It is so delicious with the cherry tomatoes. You can substitute the greens with sugar snap peas and it is equally delicious. I love leftover for my lunch the next day and eat it cold like a salad.


Thanks for a great post! This is my favorite food blog! I love garlicky greens and it's nice to try new ways of preparing them. Question, do you not use the stalks? In the past I've used them for stock or chopped them finely to cook with the leaves. Any thoughts on what else to do with them?


A small dash of nutmeg and creme, instead of pepper flakes, turns this into a different - but equally yummy - dish.


i love mixing garlicky greens like this with lentils or dhal for a garlickly dhal dish like masoor or toor dhal...after we're back from vacation, i'll try to post a recipe. One of the greatest comfort foods in my opinion :)

nithya at hungry desi

This is one of my favorite way to eat greens! I usually add cayenne pepper (instead of crushed red pepper flakes), and it gives it a great kick. I often make a little bit of this in the morning, drape it over garlic-rubbed toast, with a poached egg on top of it all. Yummm.

Amy C

This looks wonderful. Definitely on my list of tasty things to try.


i do something similar with mustard greens- though i boil the greens just a few minutes before tossing them in the skillet. and i always add a hefty sprinkling of cumin, too!


Yum! I saute beet greens and use them to top pita pizzas (delicious when paired with a couple anchovy fillets and an egg).


I love, LOVE dark greens with sweet potatoes. I recently posted at my blog about a sweet potato apple bake with a side of wilted greens that made me weak in the knees. I am a huge fan of chard, spinach, and kale, not to mention collard, turnip, beet, and daikon greens, and they do pair so nicely with sweet potatoes and squashes. My new favorite approach to greens, however, is Indian-influenced and designed to take the mickey out of the really strong greens, such as mustard greens, that I have a harder time enjoying. (Since we belong to a CSA, we get a lot of greens this time of year.) In any case, the approach is simple: Sautee some onion and some Indian spices (fenugreek, cumin, mustard, plus a small sprinkle of my favorite curry powder) in clarified butter, add the greens and cook down a little, then toss in just a little bit of leftover tomato sauce and a splash of cream. Cook it down, adding arrowroot to thicken if you need to. Sprinkle with salt. Devour. As you can guess from the motley ingredients, this dish was a happy accident that resulted from an attempt to use up leftovers. However, this recipe has allowed me to make peace with mustard greens. I never thought I'd see the day.

Laurel from Simple Spoonful

This looks great, and I can't wait to try it. I use leftover cooked greens for sort of a quick spanakopita--dock some puff pastry, add a layer of greens, sprinkle with some parmesan, top with another sheet of docked puff pastry, seal the edges and bake for about 20 minutes or so at 400F. Merry Christmas and thanks for the recipe :-)

christy Kramer

I love cooking spinach like this. So quick and yum! I usually throw some pinenuts and dried cranberries in with the olive oil while it heats then throw the spinach on top for a minute or so.


yum - THANKS! I'll be needing to eat lots and lots of Greens after all the sweets from the Holidays. Happy Holidays! :)


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